I have been reading up on what I do and how it is seen, and comics podcasting has a bad reputation in some circles. More and more I am seeing a variation of “It’s a bunch of wannabe comics creators trying to get publicity to break into the business” or “It’s a way for people to try to make themselves feel famous.”
As with any stereotype, there are elements of truth to it. I have listened to many comics podcast from artists who talk about what they do and what projects they are working on. I listen to a number of writer podcasts spanning from people who have been writing for 50+ years to people just starting out and trying to learn their craft.
But the whole “All podcasters want in the business”?
Some are fans, some are broadcasters, some are retailers, some are creators, some are cosplayers and some are a mix of all of these and more.
My story is unique, as is everyone’s.
When I was in high school and college, I wanted to work in comics, the same way my classmates wanted to be rock stars, and we all knew nothing about the career. We lived in a tiny rural area, and to go see an actual “rock star” perform or meet a comics creator, it was a nearly 4 hour drive to Chicago and I chose to see comic book creators when I went instead of rock concerts.
By the time I was in college, I was sending submissions to comics publishers, and while a few of the very small publishers were excited and offered me work, they went out of business before anything was published.
After a few years of this, I decided that I didn’t WANT to do comics any more. Not because of the work to get in, but because I was also writing prose and enjoyed it much more. I don’t think as visually as a good comics writer needs to, and I much more enjoyed working out a story with words, rather than describing to someone what the pictures would be.
I haven’t eliminated writing comics. In fact, I have done a pair of webstrips. The first was when the artist wanted to work with me on something, and asked that I create a strip for her to draw. A few years after it ended, I took a couple of ideas I had for TV projects and slammed them together, as well as bits and pieces of the first strip and created World Wide News, which runs off and on when Dangerous Dan Mohr and I have the time, energy and ability to put it together.
But nowhere in my mind do I think that a major publisher (or even a minor publisher) will be picking it up. I have some expansion plans for it that will return it to it’s roots, creatively, but I don’t see it being published by Image any time soon.
I get that there are a LOT of people who want to get into comics. It’s a field where most of the people who are fans want to dive in, whether it’s to do the Spider-Man story they’ve had in their head since they were 12, or to draw their own creations. I also get that podcasting is a great way of getting your name out there for very little cost.
I also don’t podcast for it to be all about me. Other podcasters I listen to want to be “famous”, and I reject that entire idea. Fame for fame’s sake is nothing I am interested in. Want proof? Listen to Kray Z Comics and Stories and you’ll see that I don’t even give my actual name. It’s not about me.
It’s about the stories involved in comics.
When I interview people, I will give my experiences to help connect with the person I am interviewing, but it’s all about them. Their stories. Their work. What they do.
I started Kray Z Comics and Stories because I rarely saw my friend Joe Rider. We both thought were were going to have jobs where we were on the road all the time, and it would be a great way to get together and talk once a week. As time went on, I didn’t get the travelling job and the premise of the show stayed the same:
Two best friends chatting about their lives and their time reading, selling, and loving comic books. That is the core of of the show and it always will be. We’ve added things, but in the end, that is what the show is. I did some convention appearances, and while they were a fun experiment, it didn’t add anything to the show, and felt as if it was draining the fun and enjoyment from what I do.
And I believe that if it isn’t fun, I’m not going to do it.
It is fun for me to talk to people. It’s not fun to set up, deal with buggy equipment, crowds and asking those I care about to put themselves out for me. So, I called it a day so I can focus on delivering more and better content.
Because, it’s not all about me.
If you want to podcast for some other reason, more power to you. Like any other artistic medium, there are no maps, no roads, just endless frontiers.